Jewelry in Indus Valley Civilization

Jewelry in Indus Valley Civilization is amongst the most commonly found relics and artefacts of the Harappan society. The traditional art of India recommends a richness and profusion in the jewelry adorned by both men and women during that period. Ornaments made of gold, silver, copper, ivory, pottery and beads have been discovered in this civilization as they were the most commonly used materials to make jewelry. The people of the Indus Valley Civilization were the first to explore the craft of jewelry making and their skill and workmanship is renowned around the world to this day.

The excavations yielded a rich collection of objects in stone, bronze and terracotta as these were the most popularly used materials to make jewelry. One of the most known figurines is perhaps the Dancing girl of Mohenjodaro (in bronze) wearing a necklace and a series of bangles almost covering one arm, her hair dressed in a complicated coiffure, standing in a provocative posture, with one arm on her hip and one lanky leg half bent. This figurine has been subject of major debate and also contributes to many theories relating to human evolution.

By 1,500 BC the population of the Indus Valley was creating molds for metal and terracotta ornaments. Gold jewelry from these civilizations also consisted of bracelets, necklaces, bangles, ear ornaments, rings, head ornaments, brooches, girdles etc. Here, the bead trade was in a full swing and they were made using simple techniques. Although women wore jewelry the most, some men in the Indus Valley wore beads. Small beads were often crafted to be placed in men and women's hair. The beads were so small that they usually measured in at only 1 mm in diameter.

Both men and women adorned themselves with ornaments. While necklaces, fillets, armlets and finger-rings were common to both genders; predominantly, females wore numerous clay or shell bracelets on their wrists. They were often shaped like doughnuts and painted black. Over the time, clay bangles were discarded for more durable ones made out of precious metals. Women wore girdles, earrings and anklets.

Ornaments were made of gold, silver, copper, ivory, precious and semi-precious stones, bones and shells etc. Other pieces that women frequently wore were thin bands of gold that would be worn on the forehead, earrings, primitive brooches, chokers and gold rings. Even the necklaces were soon adorned with gems and green stone. The Indus Valley era was widely known for the people’s skill in gem and precious stone setting, which is one of the reasons that their civilization is still studied and debated over.